Recent developmental and genomic research focused on "slipper snails" in the genus Crepidula has positioned Crepidula fornicata as a de facto model system for lophotrochozoan development. Here we review recent developments, as well as earlier reports demonstrating the widespread use of this system in studies of development and life history. Recent studies have resulted in a well-resolved fate map of embryonic cell lineage, documented mechanisms for axis determination and D quadrant specification, preliminary gene expression patterns, and the successful application of loss- and gain-of-function assays. The recent development of expressed sequence tags and preliminary genomics work will promote the use of this system, particularly in the area of developmental biology. A wealth of comparative information on phylogenetic relationships, variation in mode of development within the family, and numerous studies on larval biology and metamorphosis, primarily in Crepidula fornicata, make these snails a powerful tool for studies of the evolution of the mechanisms of development in the Mollusca and Lophotrochozoa. By bringing a review of the current state of knowledge of Crepidula life histories and development together with some detailed experimental methods, we hope to encourage further use of this system in various fields of investigation.